Recovering a lost language or learning to speak a language doesn’t happen overnight. But a desire to learn will unbolt the door—swinging it wide open—and fill our lungs with sparkling morning air.
A Mennonite elder once told me, “We need to listen to people who leave the church.”
John Reimer (a pseudonym) is one such person. A soft-spoken grandpa, he recently left a Mennonite Church Canada congregation that professes open-mindedness and inclusivity. I wanted to know why.
Recently, I heard a story about a young prince named Hullabaloo. He lived in a land where everyone and everything was noisy. When people talked, they shouted at each other. When they ate their soup, they inhaled it with a loud air-over-tongue sound. When they worked, they clanked and bumped until the air was filled with noise.
Some years ago, when Canada was in the midst of a federal election, my husband proposed that our church “talk politics.” Specifically, that we set aside time in the adult Sunday school class to examine the issues and the options being offered by different parties and candidates.
Matthew Bailey-Dick, left, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop coordinator, gives instructions to panel members Tanya Dyck Steinmann, Roberson Mbayamvula and Jim Loepp Thiessen. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Matthew Bailey-Dick, left, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop coordinator, give instructions to panel members Willie Taves, Vic Krahn and Josie Winterfeld. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Listening to God in worship, contemplatively in a labyrinth, or in the Bible. Listening to each other across cultures, when your hearing is impaired or when with the elderly.
Mennonite Church Eastern Canada pastors, chaplains and congregational leaders gathered for a daylong seminar on listening on Jan. 20, 2018, at Redeemer College.
Three times in one day, I was reminded of the need to listen. Worship in the morning focused on listening for God's voice, trying to calm our own voices and chattering to hear what God says.
Later, a social gathering with voices overlapping in a crowd of people needing to talk told me the importance of having someone to listen and the human need to express one's voice and be heard.